Dieing For Maui Fish
Clueless As To Why


Dieing For Maui Fish

It appears no one will ever know what killed five schools of fish off the coast of Maui last month.

Kengi Ego, chief of fisheries for the State Division of Fish and Game on Oahu, inspected two sample groups of the dead fish and reported he is mystified.

The fish were found in offshore waters or lying in tidepools in several locations along the western and southern shores of Maui.

Ego indicated that the fact the fish were in a spawning stage might be significant, but he could not say precisely how. "Possibly some unknown natural phenomenon is involved," he said.

He said another possibility might involve local fishermen netting and then releasing the fish. This is sometimes done to avoid flooding the market.

Ego said no chemical analysis of the fish was made because the samples had been wrapped in plastic, which may have been contaminated by pesticides. He identified the fish as fully- grown Aloialoi.

Ed Schmidling, District Fish and Game Warden on Maui, said his office received the fish already wrapped in the plastic. He said that in order to avoid further contamination, they were not repackaged.

Ego said his office was in the process of prepairing a standard operating procedure to cover this type of investigation, including packaging of the samples. "All fish to be analyzed should be wrapped in aluminum foil and immediately frozen," he stressed.

"We are very much interested in obtaining a fresh kill," he said. "I am alerting Ed Schmidling to call Honolulu any time of the day or night if another batch of dead fish is sighted."

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